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Brendan Howlin and Michael Noonan are sitting comfortably, but what about those behind them?
Brendan Howlin and Michael Noonan are sitting comfortably, but what about those behind them?
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Ministerial merry-go-round: Here's who might move where in the big Cabinet reshuffle

The government departments, the incumbent ministers and the frontrunners to replace some of them
Jul 7th 2014, 3:00 PM 10,751 26

THE CABINET RESHUFFLE is imminent and the permutations are wide and varied with speculation hitting fever pitch in recent days.

With the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the newly-appointed Tánaiste Joan Burton meeting today the reshuffle of ministers is one of the big items on the agenda.

As we examined earlier there is a lot to consider and plenty of names being considered. Here’s a quick run down of government departments and what could happen.

Staying put

Finance

Michael Noonan (Fine Gael) – Safe as houses.

Public Expenditure and Reform

Brendan Howlin (Labour) – Has already been assured he will remain in post.

Social Protection 

Joan Burton (Labour) – She can stay if she wants to.

Justice

Frances Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) – Only in the door.

Children

Charlie Flanagan (Fine Gael) – Ditto.

Changes on the way

Health

Incumbent: James Reilly (Fine Gael) – Budget overruns and various controversies mean he is seen as the most under threat but Kenny may yet spring a surprise and keep him.

Frontrunners to replace him: Ministers Richard Bruton or Leo Varadkar (both Fine Gael)

Education

Incumbent: Ruairí Quinn (Labour) but he has already said he’ll step down.

Frontrunners: Expected to stay in Labour with junior ministers Kathleen Lynch, Alan Kelly and Seán Sherlock in the running.

Jobs

Incumbent: Richard Bruton (Fine Gael)

Frontrunners: Bruton could remain in place or else if Labour gets it, its deputy leader Alan Kelly is the favourite

Agriculture

Incumbent: Simon Coveney (Fine Gael) is doing relatively well and is not believed to be keen on moving.

Frontrunners: If Coveney does move then chief whip and junior defence minister Paul Kehoe (Fine Gael) is the favourite.

Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Incumbent: Jimmy Deenihan (Fine Gael)

Frontrunners: Its expected that Deenihan will be demoted with Arts seen as a safe haven for James Reilly if he is. Labour could also push to hold a portfolio that was once famously Michael D Higgins’.

Communications, Energy and Natural Resources 

Incumbent: Pat Rabbitte (Labour)

Frontrunners: Rabbitte is likely to be dropped. No clear frontrunner but if it remains in Labour then possibly one of the new intake like Sherlock, Alex White or Lynch.

Defence

Incumbent: Minister of State Paul Kehoe (Fine Gael)

Frontrunners: Kehoe is likely to remain in situ as a Minister of State.

Environment, Community and Local Government 

Incumbent: Phil Hogan (Fine Gael) is almost certainly on his way to Brussels and the European Commission job.

Frontrunners: If he doesn’t get Health then Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael) could be moved here.

Foreign Affairs and Trade

Incumbent: Eamon Gilmore (Labour) will almost certainly be moved to the backbenches if not Europe.

Frontrunners: Simon Coveney (Fine Gael) is being tipped to move here.

Transport

Incumbent: Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael)

Frontrunners: Could be James Reilly if he is moved out of Health. Junior Minister Paschal Donohoe (Fine Gael) is also in the running.

More: Here are the 9 things you need to know about the imminent Cabinet reshuffle

 
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Hugh O'Connell

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